I know as a life long Manchester United fan that Marcus is involved in many campaigns to raise standards for the disadvantaged and for improvements in social care, education and health. He is an inspiration and a great role model and deserves all his success . It has been a joy to watch him grow on and off the pitch since his first team debut in 2016. And I hope he scores a hat trick against Spurs tonight.
Whist not wishing to belittle in any way his fantastic achievement in reversing Government decision this week there is of course a bigger issue. No one should need to campaign in 2020 for free School meals. My stance on this is influenced by my experience of my Mum not allowing me have free School meals. She considered it a hand out and so made me sandwiches for 6 years. Anytime I or any of my teachers raised the subject she dismissed it. I’m sure many other parents feel the same way because it can be seen as a failure to be unable to feed and provide for your family. My Mum worked as a school dinner lady which may have been the real reason she took this stance. This was pre Jamie Oliver and although my friends’ dinners - and all the chat about them and the excitement and anticipation they seemed to cause- seemed more glamorous I trusted my Mum to know better and my sandwiches were more nutritious. My Mum made sacrifices in other areas although I never noticed what they were. They only applied to her.
One solution to this issue is I think to increase the tax threshold to £20,000, increase the minimum wage and remove the stigma of free school meals by making them free for all children. The way our country will succeed pro Brexit is to ensure we are all fitter, healthier, better educated and motivated. And that should start with our children. Fortunately my Mum didn’t see the fantastic free Grammar school education I had or the free tuition fees and amazing grant to study Architecture as handouts. And they weren’t. Just as school meals aren’t. That was the government investing in its citizens in the knowledge that it would be repaid. And it has been -hundreds of times over. Gladly. It is about perception and taking away the stigma which still exists. Especially by Katie Hopkins and her like. Best way is to make education free -and the care which goes with it- for the time kids need it. It will be more cost effective than health care.
by Chris Williamson